The Fan Who Found Me

I am not surprised the spawnlings abandoned me for the NERF exhibit at Sydney Supanova last weekend. To be perfectly honest, I would have been disappointed if they hadn’t.

Supnova Sydney 2017 NERF

But it was at that precise moment, without spawnling or security blanket, I was found at my most vulnerable…

While I watched all three of them bound into the play area, with NERF guns as big as them, a man dressed in black tapped me on the shoulder.

“Look up there, and you’ll see yourself on the television.”

Sure enough, I looked up and spotted an advertisement for Zedtown, the NERF Zombie War RPG event. I had reviewed the media day Zedtown for GeekMom (TL;dr – it was awesome. But now you must go to GeekMom and check out the photos).

Zedtown Preview EG Zombies

I laughed. He laughed. I said well done for recognising clean-face me at Supanova under all the zombie makeup at Zedtown. He said, “Hey, can I guess the school your kids go to?”

Nothing makes your stomach drop like hearing a stranger refer to your spawnlings personal details.

“…, uhhhhh… sure… what makes you think…”

“Oh, don’t worry! My girlfriend is a teacher at their school and recognised you in the tv ad. She squealed with laughter seeing you in the ad! She had no idea you were even interested in NERF Zombie wars, let alone a writer to review it!”

Minions: You have no idea of the relief that washed over my body.

Turns out, he is one of the organisers behind Zedtown (I think) and said girlfriend is one of the few teachers who has known the spawnlings since Sinister’s first day at school. And she figured I wasn’t quite like the other parents at school… She just didn’t realise how different.

It’s a fairly conservative, straight-laced kind of area. Perfect for corruption to my way of thinking, one family at a time. 😉 As a collective, they will claim to only know a few shows or books… but individually they are as much a fan of David Tennant in Broadchurch as they are of his performance in Fright Night.

So, once again, we laughed. We talked about Zedtown. We watched the spawnlings gang up on their father. Good time had by all.

And then I spent the next 12 hours, scouring every post I have ever made to ensure there is nothing about our school name in any post about the spawnlings.

Oh yeah, and I’m pretty sure that teacher has now been updated on exactly how awesome we are at NERF wars.

*throws down the glove*

 

One Voice at a Time (… or How To Cancel Your Panel About Harassment In Games Because Of Harassment)

Nice one, SXSW. Way to promote irony.

Next year’s SXSW Interactive looked to be shaping up quite nicely. With some featured speakers like Jim Bankoff (Vox Media) and Pete Cashmore (Mashable Inc), the focus was on social developments and progress into the future. Which is what SXSW is supposed to be about. That’s what keeps an Evil Genius like me interested.

However, there was another topic of interest. In fact, two panels.

  • “SavePoint – A Discussion on the Gaming Community”
  • “Level Up: Overcoming Harassment in Games”

These two panels share a common theme that still needs to be addressed. While both panels were to address the broader issues of online harassment, it would be pretty naive to assume neither were influenced by the whole Gamergate thing. Either way, online bullying and harassment and downright dick behaviour is still an issue.

Thus, the irony – both panels have been cancelled in response to harassing emails, including death threats and violence. Hugh Forrest (SXSW Interactive Director) stated quite clearly the reason for cancellation being “numerous threats of on-site violence related to this programming.”

This is a tough one. Earlier this year, Supanova (Australia) faced a similar scenario regarding one of their guests, Adam Baldwin. Thousands of petitioners asked Supanova to reconsider Baldwin’s invite – not just because of his downright offensive comments during Gamergate, but his regular inflammatory comments on social media regarding women, transgender people, and gay people. Supanova chose to continue with his attendance, which was not without consequence. The Ledger Awards stopped accepting sponsorship from Supanova; Comedian Kirsty Mac pulled out (and received a bunch of harassment for it); Even popular cosplayer Eve Beauregard declined to attend (love her cosplay work – such a shame to miss her). I can tell you right now – it was a long and detailed discussion in the EG Lair as to whether we attended.

SXSW has taken a different approach – they have responded to threats / harassment by removing the panels. Wrong response, silly minions. SXSW has just allowed the harassers to be louder than the community trying to resolve the issue. In the same manner Supanova allowed Baldwin to maintain his voice, SXSW has now removed the panelists who were openly discussing the perils of online harassment. Silence against the harassers is the same as complying. Or in the words of Matilda, if you don’t speak up then you’re saying it’s okay – “and that’s not right.”

SXSW is facing its own backlash now – Vox Media and BuzzFeed are both considering pulling out. Understandable, considering the negative power of association on the web. However, others are urging panelists not to quit. Randi Harper, founder of Online Abuse Prevention Initiative (and one of the “Level Up” panelists) took to Twitter on Monday, and encouraged others to speak: “Silence is not solidarity”

There are still five months until SXSW – a lot can happen between now and then. Will we see further cancellations? Maybe a change in approach to the panels? Clearly online harassment is a real and ever-growing monster that needs to be addressed, in a safe environment. Now we just have to find someone who is still willing to do so.

One Convention at a Time

Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
EG Inc went to Supanova!
And we’re now approved by Stan Lee!

If ever you want to see the collective effort of social rejects to somehow band together and fit in, go to a Convention.

NERDS UNITE AND DEFEND YOUR GEEKDOMS!!

Be it a willingness to line-up for 4hrs+ for an autograph and quick spoken nicety; or the outrageous cosplay; or even just the spectacular paraphernalia. Conventions have it all.

20140620-133133-48693309.jpg
Who’s that awesome guy? Zahan Kotwal. Best cosplay ever. He’s Misty from Pokemon, you unworthy noob.

Anywho, I wanted in on the Supanova action because of Stan “The Man” Lee. This was his last convention in Australia (the dude’s 91!!) and I was not missing the Marvel Master for anything.

Apparently, half of Australia felt the same way.

20140620-205216-75136178.jpg

But we have already discussed that here. So why else would you go?

There were other guests: Grant Imahara; Yuri Lowenthal; John Barrowman. Though the lines for Barrowman were almost as long, so I missed out scaring him with our angel.

There were some amazing workshops: how to do zombie make-up; anything with the Weta guys.

And there were some amazing comic artists: Nicola Scott being my stand-out.

But the main appeal to me is any novelty tech stuff – like SyFy Australia’s FanCam 360. Check out the 360 on our Weeping Angel Baby Carrier Cosplay. Plenty of cosplayers got in on the action with some fantastic results.

The good: there was plenty of variety in guests, artwork, displays and interaction.

The bad: no where to sit for 5 minutes and gush over your geeky goodies.

The ugly: brought to you by some impatient geeks with no appreciation for those around them in the same boat. Had to zap one guy – twice.

Would we go again? Definitely. Though I would prefer to NOT do any autographs next time and just walk around, sharing the goods and laughs with the family who truly “gets me “. But this could be difficult.

Next con is September, and William Shatner is coming.